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Saturday, October 11, 2008

The Trucks Last Seattle Show

posted by on October 11 at 2:16 PM

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After five years of busting up dance floors across America the Trucks have decided to call it a day. Tonight at Chop Suey will be their final Seattle performance, followed by one more show in Portland on November 7th and a finale in Bellingham the following night. The Trucks are living proof that if you are motivated enough you don't necessarily have to be a great musician to start a hit band, you can just learn how to play as you go along (having your band consist of four attractive ladies may help expedite the process, however). Strangely enough, the first time I met Kristen and Marissa was the night before the Trucks first show, at a friend's apartment in Bellingham. They told me they were starting a band, and that they were going to go on tour and be famous. I took their delusions of grandeur with a grain of salt and agreed to go check them out the next day on the Western campus. They told me they had written a song about Marissa's ex-boyfriend, my audio recording teacher at Fairhaven, and how he refused to pleasure her orally. I was intrigued. At this point the band had no drummer, only simple casio beats, and it was pretty clear Kristen was the only member who actually knew how to play music. Regardless, they were charming and fun and full of promise, and before long my audio recording teacher was at the show too, standing next to me. Their closing song was the one about him, and as they all chirped, "Why the fuck won't you go down on me?" I looked over to find his head sinking farther and farther into his hands. It was a priceless moment I'll keep with me forever. Thanks Trucks, you've been all sorts of fun.

Tonight is also a CD release show for A Gun That Shoots Knives. They promise new costumes and fun surprises. Awesome opens.


Sunday, September 21, 2008

Mauricio Kagel (1931-2008)

posted by on September 21 at 2:38 PM

One of the last great composers of Europe's post World War II avant-garde died last week. He joins a list of brave pioneers: Nono, Berio, Ligeti, Stockhausen...


Mauricio Kagel in a pimp cap

Mauricio Kagel was a trickster, inventor, and filmmaker always attuned to the theatrical elements of music making. He not only understood that all performance is theater, but in his films and scores Kagel magnified tiny, interstitial musical elements into grand gestures (e.g., the madhouse cackling in the Improvisation ajoutée for organist and two assistants).

Unlike Kagel's better-known peers and colleagues including Pierre Boulez-who back in 1954 told him to ditch Buenos Aires and come to Europe-Kagel remains comparatively unknown in the U.S. Many of his works require custom-made instruments or unusual (and thus in America impractical) configurations. The duo Zwei Akte calls for a harpist and reed virtuoso equipped with sopranino (not soprano), alto, and baritone saxophones.

Kagel helped pioneer electronic music; by having performers record custom-made tapes to perform Transición II (1958-59), he helped establish the tape recorder as a musical instrument and legitimate component of chamber music. Kagel also fashioned outsize and at times prankish musical schemes. His hefty Exotica for "extra-European instruments" remains gorgeously difficult listening while Tactil deploys long throbbing tines and louche guitar strums in a sideways homage to Jobim & company.

By the late 1970s, Kagel had consolidated his avant garde tactics with more traditional techniques, and masterfully so; in the sheaf of pieces from 1981's Sankt-Bach Passion to Auftakte, sechshändig of 1996 and after, Kagel commingles the new and the old seamlessly.

To listen, UbuWeb is an excellent place to start and check The Avant Garde Project too.

Tonight on Flotation Device, I'll air Transición II and several other works in tribute to Kagel along with Annea Lockwood's World Rhythms, perhaps the first piece to layer unprocessed field recordings live.

Catch the on-line stream or tune in to KBCS 91.3 FM from 10 pm to midnight.


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

R.I.P. Norman Whitfield

posted by on September 17 at 3:06 PM

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Bad week for music legends. First Pink Floyd’s Richard Wright died from cancer; now the prolific, genius Motown composer Norman Whitfield has passed away at age 65 from diabetes and other ailments. Whitfield wrote—often in tandem with his creative partner Barrett Strong—several of the greatest soul songs of all time and he played a crucial role in psychedelicizing Motown’s sound in the late ’60s/early ’70s through tunes like the Temptations’ “Cloud Nine,” “Psychedelic Shack,” and “Ball of Confusion,” and the Undisputed Truth’s “Smiling Faces Sometimes.” Among many others. Time constraints prevent me from elaborating now, but the man was a muthafunkin’ immortal-hit machine.

Fill your iPod with Whitfield’s compositions and try not to feel like your life is immeasurably richer.

The Temptations’ “Can’t Get Next to You”



Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Death of a Record Collection

posted by on September 16 at 12:45 PM

Right now, my esteemed colleague Dave Segal is on the phone negotiating the long-delayed transport of his record collection from Orange County. Segal has been here for just over a month; these should have been here just days after he arrived. "These are extremely valuable to me," he's telling the person on the other end of the phone. "I'm not going to let this go." It sounds pretty grim.

Last week, I was in NYC. I walked by Other Music, Victory Records, various little vinyl boutiques, and while, on some abstract level, I wanted to support all these businesses, I didn't come home with a single record. At my kind host's stylish but small railroad apartment, we listened to music on a nice set of speakers plugged into mp3 players and laptops. They had maybe two boxes of records. I can't remember whether or not they had a turntable set up (I don't think so).

At home, I have the same brand of shelving as every other vinyl owning young person, the one made out of 16 squares perfectly sized for 12"s (your model may have 25 squares if you're fancy). It's half full of vinyl, half full of books and other media. I have a few crates worth of records on additional shelving or in actual crates on the floor, but I'm lately convinced that I'm never going to fill the rest of this shelf up with vinyl, let alone have to someday spring for the 25 square model.

I find no joy in this conclusion. I would love to live in a house lined with shelves of records. I would prefer my living room to look like these. I just don't think it's going to happen.

Vinyl is relatively big and heavy. Airlines are charging for extra baggage, and even when they weren't, traveling with vinyl (say, enough to DJ with) is grueling compared to traveling with mp3s or even CDs. Shipping is apparently a drag as well. Apartment space for record shelving is limited.

Music is expensive. We're diving headlong into what looks to my admittedly not economically expert eyes like a serious recession/depression, and records just aren't a necessity as much as food and shelter (Segal will likely debate this point with me). Rising fuel prices only aggravate the flying/shipping issues as well. As much as I want to support these small business and be a parton of artists, I just can't give any more than I can afford. Before this job, that meant buying records as carefully as possible, downloading what I couldn't afford to buy, and supporting artists at shows and by buying other merch. Now, it frequently means building my collection through promotional copies. Both means meant more CDs and mp3s than vinyl making their way into my collection. Morgan Geist might complain that I'm not listening to his records on the proper hi-fi setup in the ideal format, but audiophile gear is a luxury that most music fans probably can't afford. Hell, even Sasha Frere-Jones is selling his record collection.

These are gloomy, doomy times—every time someone in New York asked me how work was going, I would reply that it's great, the music business is tanking, print journalism is tanking, so print music journalism is the most exciting place you could hope to be. In seriousness, it's an awesome job, I feel fortunate every day to have it, but I'm not sure it'll ever launch me comfortably into the middle class. I think I may never own a home; maybe I won't be able to hold on to all the music I love for posterity either. Maybe formats—or other, larger paradigms—will shift and force people of my class situation to leave certain things behind. I think record collections, as opposed to mp3 collections, will only become increasingly a thing of class privilege rather than of ardent music fandom (I suppose it was always this way; perhaps music fans of less means have just moved from dubbed cassettes to mp3s).

Sacrilege, maybe, but as much as I love the look and feel of vinyl, records are only of marginally more value to me than the equivalent mp3s. Or: If I have to, I can let record collecting go. At least it'll be easier to move when rising rent finally prices me out my current place.


Monday, September 15, 2008

Re: Pink Floyd’s Richard Wright Dead at 65

posted by on September 15 at 11:56 AM

An original member of the vastly influential Pink Floyd, keyboardist Richard Wright was a crucial contributor to the British group’s seminal space-rock blueprint. He also wrote beautiful, upliftingly melancholy psych-pop songs like “Remember a Day,” “See-Saw,” “The Great Gig in the Sky,” and “Summer ’68,” but suffered the George Harrison syndrome: He had a hard time shoehorning his own songs onto Pink Floyd albums due first to the late Syd Barrett’s, then to Roger Waters and David Gilmour’s creative dominance. Nevertheless, Wright generated some of the most oft-heard and –imitated keyboard sounds in rock. His handiwork will likely be cherished by millions for as long as we have electricity. R.I.P.

“Remember a Day” from A Saucerful of Secrets


Pink Floyd's Richard Wright Dead at 65

posted by on September 15 at 10:47 AM

Via the Press Association:

Richard Wright, a founder member of Pink Floyd, has died at the age of 65 after battling cancer, his spokesman said.

Wright played the keyboard with the legendary band and wrote music in classic albums such as Dark Side Of The Moon and Wish You Were Here.

His spokesman said: "The family of Richard Wright, founder member of Pink Floyd, announce with great sadness, that Richard died ... after a short struggle with cancer. The family have asked that their privacy is respected at this difficult time."

Wright's spokesman did not say from what form of cancer the star had been suffering.


Saturday, September 13, 2008

Every Day Been Workin So Hard

posted by on September 13 at 2:03 AM

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Ice Age Cobra's final show @ the Blue Moon

It's always sad to see a good band call it quits, but at least Ice Age Cobra got to go out on their own terms and throw one final, wild show. These dudes wowed me the first time I saw them a few years ago, and to my delight, every other time I caught them from then on. Their final show is no exception - they rip though an awesome set of garage, grunge, classic rock, and party riffs to a crowd of dedicated fans big enough that even back at the bar people know the words and are signing along. About an hour into the set the band stops playing and wanders away; singer/guitarist Jordan West announces: "Before we engage in any more shenanigans, we have to all become one. We don't have any bread or wine, so this will have to do." He holds up a leopard print bandana he just finished using to wipe down his gleaming wet torso and hair. He balls it up and holds it over a guy's mouth, who almost unflinchingly takes the sweat communion. There are enough drops to save four more disciples, then the rag is crammed into the last guy's mouth. For the second to last song the band pulls up original bassist Brad Kauffman to sing their timeless international #1 hit "Acid Pony," and everyone goes wild. Though their Myspace touts this show as their last "until our reunion show," West spray paints "Ice Age Cobra RIP" in huge letters across his guitar cabs in a declaration of finality. The band dies as it lived, in pure rock and roll revelry.

photo by hordis


Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Heaven Bound & Down

posted by on September 2 at 1:41 PM

Jerry Reed has died at age 71. A friend of mine finally returned my copy of Jerry Reed's Greatest Hits to me yesterday. This is really sad. I loved to sing "She Got the Goldmine, I Got the Shaft" at karaoke.

Cross-posted to Slog because it's just that important, dammit.


Friday, August 29, 2008

Paper Thin Walls: 2006-2008

posted by on August 29 at 2:53 PM

Paper Thin Walls is closing up shop today, saying goodbye with a "compendium of ephemera, ruminations, complaints, effluvium and balderdash" that make me wish I had known the site better during its existence. RIP, Paper Thin Walls.


Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Washington Guitarist Shikany Killed in Accident

posted by on August 20 at 5:27 PM

Joseph Shikany—who played guitar and bass in Seattle-area rock groups Magic Bus, the Davanos, PowerCell, and others—died Monday in Spokane after being struck by a falling tree, Seattle Times reports. He was 58.

Below, Shikany plays a cover of ZZ Top’s “La Grange” with Spike & the Impalers.


LeRoi Moore of Dave Matthews Band

posted by on August 20 at 12:02 PM

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Saxophonist LeRoi Moore died yesterday at the age of 46. His death was a result of injuries he suffered from an ATV accident back in June, although the press statement did not specify exactly how he died.

There is not an instrument I despise more in the rock and roll context than the saxophone. For example, my least favorite song of all time is “Old Time Rock and Roll” by Bob Seger, thanks mostly to that sax solo. I’m sure Clarence Clemons is solid enough guy, but he’s kept me from ever truly appreciating the Boss. Don’t get me wrong, the saxophone is not inherently shitty – I love me some Coltrane. And there are several rock bands that have used the sax tastefully and interestingly (Plot to Blow Up the Eiffel Tower, Mars Volta, to name a few), but 99% of the time the rock/sax combo is all Bob Seger, and it makes me want to stab out my ears.

I know it is monumentally uncool to admit to it, but there was a time deep in my adolescence when I could get down with some DMB. It was short lived, only until I was introduced to the wide world of independent music, but there’s still a soft spot. The pro-DMB outpouring on the Stereogum message board is a bit baffling considering that site’s usual indie commenter snark, but it would seem that “soft spot” is more commonplace than I would have thought. Though I haven’t listened to their records in years, and don’t plan to ever again, I can remember back to the time when I did, and realize that my feelings toward LeRoi Moore’s saxophone are decidedly out of step with my opinion of rock saxophone in general. When it came time for me to leave DMB behind and never speak their name again, it had nothing to do with the saxophone of LeRoi Moore.


Sunday, August 10, 2008

Isaac Hayes Dead at 65

posted by on August 10 at 1:42 PM

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Soul singer Isaac Hayes died today in Memphis. He was 65. (LA Times)


Wednesday, August 6, 2008

The Corpse Isn't Even Cold

posted by on August 6 at 3:59 PM

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Do you fondly recall the remix of Elvis' "A Little More Satisfaction" and the 1997 era of big-beat techno? Have you been wondering just what the guys behind The Sopranos' theme song have been up to? Do you think Snoop Dogg needs to rival Diddy in the "ruining old music" department? Do you hate yourself?

Then you'll surely get a three-fourths over Cash Remixed, set for release in October but now streaming at JohnnyCashRemixed.com. First bad sign? The tunes stream in the cumbersome RealPlayer format.

The only song that gets out relatively unscathed is "Folsom Prison Blues," its basic instrumentation left mostly intact with a Pete Rock beat crazy-glued on top. But otherwise, this album will give new meaning to "no stars" and "0.0" review scores. "I Heard That Lonesome Whistle Blow" has been run through a trip-hop grinder to sound like a B-side from The Saint's soundtrack. "Rock Island Line" collides with percussion straight out of a Jock Jam. "Sugartime" has been trampled by the ghost of Kid Rock's midget. But nothing-no-nothing is worse than Snoop Dogg turning "I Walk The Line" into a G-Funk duet, inserting 16 bars, Death Row-style vocoder, and plenty of interrupting mumbles ("tell 'em why, Johnny") and "uh"s into the song.

I'd like to say the result of the Snoop duet is funny, but it breaks my heart. Johnny Cash did so much to unearth new meaning in older pop and rock songs in his American series, and his estate deserves nothing as low as this "turn in kind." How odd that people saw the song title "Leave That Junk Alone" and didn't come to their senses. Sorry, Johnny.


Monday, August 4, 2008

"Thank You and Goodbye"

posted by on August 4 at 1:28 PM

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From a Myspace bulletin:

After a little over four years of playing music together, we've collectively decided to move on to other things. We're all extremely grateful to everyone that's supported us over the years. To all the bands we've played with, the folks that helped us make our records, and the fans that've come out to our shows and picked up our music, thank you. You've made everything worth it.

Love,
Siberian


Friday, July 18, 2008

The Bottom

posted by on July 18 at 12:25 PM

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This is one of those moments where all hope for another person utterly disappears, where previously irritating transgressions become merely side notes to a thesis on creative bankruptcy. I fucking loved you, Chris Cornell.

Chris(t) Cornell ft. Timbaland - "Long Gone"
streaming exclusively at ryanseacrest.com

"He definitely would have played these games."

posted by on July 18 at 11:57 AM

I'm fine with old songs being used on Guitar Hero and Rock Band; cueing them up to plastic instruments and 3D avatars doesn't taint the original artists' legacy. And if I ever made an awesome song and died, I'd hope there would be no legal wrangling to allow some 12-year-old to YouTube himself fake-rocking to my hit single, "Murder Mausoleum."

But when the estates of famed rockers get a ton of cash to license their tunes to video games, can they ease up on the fucking rationalizations?

The ultimate guitar hero, Jimi Hendrix, is finally coming to the Guitar Hero game franchise, according to Janie Hendrix, who oversees his estate. The Hendrix estate, which had difficulty locating the original masters until now, has delivered multiple songs — including “Purple Haze,” “Foxy Lady” and “Little Wing” — to GH’s developers ... “Guitar Hero really was on the ball and and they were biting at the bit to get this out this year, so, we just accommodated them,” Janie Hendrix tells Rolling Stone. “Jimi was a kid at heart — he definitely would have played these games.”

Please, stop telling everybody what dead people would've wanted when it comes to licensing deals worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. Unless, of course, you plan on issuing statements like the one on the front of his sex tape. Thanks.

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(This sorta thing pissed me off last year, too, but that's only cuz Courtney was getting in on the action.)


Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Poll: Drugs, Nasty Ass Drugs

posted by on July 16 at 12:09 PM

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Music and drugs have a long and intertwining history. Certain artists have their poisons and certain poisons have their artists. Fans too, poisons don’t miss them either. (Managers, promoters, bookers, and label reps, let’s not forget they do drugs too.) We as music makers and fans snort, smoke, shoot, chug, and inject, for many reasons.

Enhancement of the senses to intensify creative process? Check. Enhancement of the senses to intensify audible and visual experience? Check. R. Kelly says, “I believe I can fly” and we do too. Or if you’re from the South, you want drugs because you like how it feels going fast.

Eddy Grant rocks down to Electric Avenue then does what? He takes it highya. Sadly, ginseng and guarana don’t stack up. I mean, there you are on Electric Avenue, somehow a cup of ginseng tea doesn’t work.

Drugs get ugly real quick. Some of the nastiest and dumbest:

The Speedball: intravenous use of heroin or morphine and cocaine.
Crank: cheap form of meth that is usually snorted.
Lith: lithium taken from batteries, comes in a paste, usually smoked.
LSD/Mushroom/Ecstasy combo: college students in Georgia call it “The Larry”.
Freon: the shit in refrigerators and air conditioners.
Yard of Beer: three feet of liquid beer.

Which gets you the highest?


Monday, June 23, 2008

Himsa is Breaking Up

posted by on June 23 at 12:27 PM

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Bassist Derek Harn:

"After 10+ years, four releases, countless tours and almost incomprehensible (yet constant) upheaval, the last three years of the band have been relatively stable. Having sacrificed everything we had in order to ensure the band's survival it's time to let it go. We made a great CD (Summon in Thunder/Century Media); reportedly, our best. We've got a great label. We're getting along, we've toured and we're fine. It's all good. We're leaving it at that. A relatively unremarkable closing to HIMSA's gi-normously dramatic career, there appears to be no acrimony or unpleasantness, simply the end of a blistering, phenomenal, tumultuous era of the metal that HIMSA permeated into the modern musical landscape. References have been made to the band's evolving difficulties with the relentless touring schedules that have been the hallmark of Himsa's career. If we can't tour, and our reality is we can't tour as we have in the past, then it's not Himsa. Better to hang it up than fade away."

"Unleash Carnage"

One time when my friend Carrie was 15 she made cookies for Himsa with her blood in them, and they ate them, stoked. Himsa will play their final show on August 16th at El Corazon.


Saturday, June 7, 2008

Aggressive Drummer Needed to Extremely Die

posted by on June 7 at 1:40 PM

From The Stranger Classifieds - Musicians Wanted:

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No dying of natural causes. If your drumming slowly and gently passes into the afterlife, you need not apply. The death here needs to be extreme. Your drumming needs to dive head first into a woodchipper. Or be eaten by piranha. Or have a parachute that doesn’t open.

In death metal there is distortion, there are morbid and harsh lyrics sung by low growled Orc men, blurringly fast drums, and a pure sense of darkness. With extreme death metal it needs to be harsher, faster, more distorted, more morbid, more Orc.

In extreme death metal, not only does your parachute malfunction, but you land in a woodchipper that spits the shards of your body into a piranha tank. Then a serial murderer lets the water out of the tank, freezes the piranha, and throws them back into the woodchipper.


Thursday, May 8, 2008

Eddy Arnold Is Dead

posted by on May 8 at 1:30 PM

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The country-pop superstar died today at age 89. Arnold's crooning voice and smooth songs helped to shepherd in the Nashville Sound, creating crossover success for country music on the pop charts.

I don't listen to much Eddy Arnold (I generally like my country as honky-tonk as it can get), but he has a special place in my heart because he's one of my dad's favorite singers, and we listened to him all the time in our car when I was a kid. My sister and I couldn't stand the yodel-heavy "Cattle Call" at the time, but I've since been known to listen to it many times on repeat. It's an awfully pretty song.


Friday, May 2, 2008

Four Quick Obits

posted by on May 2 at 2:41 PM

Bebe Barron (1925-2008) With her husband Louis, Bebe worked with John Cage on the Project for Magnetic Tape and composed the landmark soundtrack to the film Forbidden Planet, which exposed millions to electronic music. Pioneers of circuit-bending and of the kitchen sink-approach to electronic music, the Barrons (pictured below) were willing to try anything to make new and unusual sounds, including building self-destructing circuits. "Prepare your minds for a new scale of scientific values..." and see some of Forbidden Planet.


Bebe and Louis Barron


Henry Brant (1913-2008) A 20th century pioneer of heterogeneous ensembles and acoustic spatialization, Brant took the concept of antiphonal performance (think brass choirs in opposite balconies during the time of Giovanni Gabrieli) to new heights: His oratorio, Wind, Water, Clouds & Fire, calls for three women's choruses, a children's chorus, woodwinds, six trumpets, percussion, harp, piano, ten violins, and organ. Several years ago, the Seattle Flute Society performed Brant's "Ghosts and Gargoyles" for flute ensemble; flutists ringed Town Hall's main hall. The music, a kind of glacial, surround-sound Gregorian chant, was captivating.

Tristram Cary (1925-2008) A pioneer and fine composer of electronic music, Cary co-designed one the great synths of the analog age, the EMS VCS 3. Unfortunately the documentary, "What The Future Sounded Like," which features Cary prominently, has been removed from youtube. Here's a more in-depth obituary.

Jimmy Giuffre (1921-2008) Apart from his essential role in West Coast jazz, the reedman helped pioneer freely improvised music with his ill-fated 1962 album Free Fall. The trio that recorded Free Fall - Giuffre, bassist Steve Swallow, and pianist Paul Bley - disbanded soon after a gig that earned each member 35 cents apiece for a set. Alas, wages for experimental music makers have hardly risen since.

Too many amazing musicians have died recently. To cheer myself up, I watched an episode of The Subject is Jazz with pianist Billy Taylor and composer George Russell. Scan ahead to the six minute mark for "Concerto for Billy the Kid," which features pianist Bill Evans and remains one of Russell's best pieces. It's also a treat to see the underrated trombonist Jimmy Cleveland.

"Billy" showcases Russell's gift for making tightly scripted pieces that nonetheless welcome unusual timbres: Note that the drummer continually hits the nipple of the cymbal (near the nut) for a high, ringing tone; Cleveland's tiny polyphonic emendations around 6'40"; and, at the first piano break, Bill Evans doubles his part two octaves up for a bell-like sound.

I also like how Evans' one-hand solo at 8'30" - unusual for the absence of left hand comping - thins out the overall texture. By contrast, trumpeter Art Farmer's marvelous bit at 10'03" cuts through a denser field: a ride cymbal and passages injected by the trombone and saxophone.

Alas, the bass and guitar (guitarist Barry Galbraith falls behind in the first section) remain mostly inaudible in this clip; to really hear the work's polyrhythmic frisson, find the out of print Jazz Workshop recording released in 1990 on RCA or the cheaper import disc "Complete Bluebird Recordings."

And yes, the host of The Subject of Jazz, Gilbert Seldes, is a tad stuffy, but when the program aired in 1958, jazz and other improvised musics had yet to win recognition as a field worthy of respect and serious study. Seldes was fighting the good fight.


Wednesday, April 30, 2008

HELP ME

posted by on April 30 at 2:38 PM

Someone please, please, PLEASE, take The Stranger's music internship off of my hands. It has been month after grueling month of "do this" and "do that", and I simply can't take it anymore. While I can't promise they'll give you school credit or sign any papers to prove you were an intern, I can promise that Eric Grandy will drive you into the ground with pointless crap to do. Megan Seling, despite what you may think, is a raging beast in person, and the office gets really stuffy at times. Candidates with allergies should rethink their ambitions. I hear Quiznos is hiring.

If this sounds fun, which it isn't, you should totally send your applications to megan@thestranger.com

I pine for a night of sleep without clublist related nightmares haunting my slumber so...

SEND! SEND! SEND! APPLY! APPLY! THIS IS THE CHANCE OF A LIFETIME!



Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Al Wilson, 1939-2008

posted by on April 22 at 5:19 PM

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Rest In Peace to one of the unheralded greats of R&B. Wilson died from kidney failure at age 68. Here he is on Soul Train, doing his biggest hit, "Show And Tell".


Friday, April 11, 2008

Radiohead for Turtle Man

posted by on April 11 at 12:00 PM

Radiohead wrote the song “Karma Police” specifically for this Kentucky man who fishes snapping turtles out of ponds with his bare hands.

His name is Ernie Brown Jr. and he’s known as the Turtle Man. He’s missing his front teeth because he knocked them out with a chainsaw. He’s missing a majority of his brain cells because his mother is his sister. He doesn’t drink, do drugs, or smoke cigarettes, but he does catch the ever-living hell out of snapping turtles with his bare hands.

Watching the video, you just can’t help but hope one the turtles will bite his nuts off. And that is why when he dies and passes into the next world, Ernie Brown Jr. will pass into an eternity of snapping turtles biting his nuts off. He will wake up every day with balls, and every day they will be bitten off by an angry snapping turtle when he does his Indian victory cry.


Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Is it Worth Mentioning...

posted by on April 8 at 12:42 PM

...that 14 years ago today they found Kurt Cobain's body?


Sunday, March 30, 2008

Another Mag Down

posted by on March 30 at 5:28 PM

Resonance Magazine has reached...

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...the end of the day. It took 14 years. It was a long run. And lot of local writers, including myself, got a start in music journalism in its pages.

RESONANCE MAGAZINE BIDS FAREWELL TO 14 YEARS OF PUBLISHING

Seatlle-based (in a Wallingford attic, to be precise), nationally distributed, music and arts magazine Resonance ceases print production in January 2008. From publisher Andrew Monko:

To our dear friends and supporters:

In January 2008, immediately before going to press with our 55th issue, we were forced to stop printing Resonance. The financial challenge of publishing an independent magazine finally overwhelmed us. Fueled by the tireless support of many people (readers, subscribers, staff, freelancers, advertisers, publicists, as well as long-suffering spouses and significant others), we stubbornly survived on a shoestring budget and volunteer staff for 14 years. Such a business model isn’t sustainable forever.

Resonance, see you at the crossroads.


Tuesday, March 18, 2008

First No Depression, Now Harp?!

posted by on March 18 at 10:49 AM

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I'm surprised this sad news hasn't been posted yet:

According to Glenn Sabin, Guthrie's CEO, the publication struggled to become profitable. "We purchased Harp in 2003, and it quickly became a first class product that was highly acclaimed for its often irreverent editorial approach and strong graphical package. Unfortunately, Harp's critical acclaim never translated into sustaining commercial success. Harp's lifecycle was ill timed with the precipitous decline of the music software industry, coupled with the consolidation of the consumer magazine newsstand business and rising paper and postage costs".

Sabin saw Harp's demise as reflective of the changes both in the music industry and in print consumer publishing. Sabin continued, "This story isn't new. Print consumer publishing and the music industry are undergoing a revolutionary period. Legal digital sales are not even close to making up for the loss in physical product sales and the pervasiveness of illegal digital downloads. And with smaller revenues, labels are inevitably spending less money for print and other forms of advertising and promotion."

Gah, ain't that story ridiculously familiar. I spent my plane rides to and from SXSW poring through No Depression and Harp--the former, the all-too-recent victim of such music-print pitfalls, and the latter, the supposed replacement for my refined musical bathroom reading needs. And they're both really darn good--balanced and varied coverage (yes, even No Depression steps outside the Lucinda Williams echelon) with a solid, authoritative editorial voice (as in, NOT Paste). What's shocking is that there's still at least one more issue of ND in the can, set to come out in a month or so, but Harp's immediately through. Dead. Done. No mas.

I'm all for blogs--uh, obviously--but are we seeing the beginning of the end for the truly independent feature-heavy musical perspective? The last part's the key--long, reporting-intensive stories that range from multi-interview expositions on a band to ruminations on all ends of the industry. Pitchfork has its columns sidebar, but I'm not printing those out and taking them to the can, and I don't know who is. What I do know is that these two magazine closures are the beginning of a severe domino effect, devastating for other small publishers and wild for new ventures trying to step in and catch the windfall ("We'll target the music fans whose eyes you just lost with our, er, bong-shaped MP3 player line").

(By the way, I do not know if that last part in parentheses is actually a business strategy that Grandy and co. are looking into. Hey, times is tough.)

Since nothing has been announced as far as a continuing online presence, I assume this is it for Harp as an entity, though that's not to say its core staff won't come up with something. Still, Harp, the beloved paper product, will be missed. Best of luck to Scott Crawford and the rest of the mag's tiny full-time crew.


Monday, March 17, 2008

Dead Bury the Dead

posted by on March 17 at 12:16 PM

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Radio disc jock Mikey Dread is dead. He succumbed to a brain tumour late yesterday afternoon at his family home in Connecticut, USA at the age of 54. Born Michael Campbell in Port Antonio, Jamaica, he distinguished himself as an extraordinary studio engineer and presenter at the now defunct Jamaica Broadcasting Corporation (JBC) where he came to prominence in the 1970s as "The Dread-the-Control Tower", the name of the late night show he presented at a time when reggae music was scoffed at by many. Mikey Dread... hailed as one of reggae's greatest innovators.

And they want I to go to the funeral. But I go to no man's funeral. Let the dead bury the dead, I'm a living man and got things to do.


ABBA Drummer Found Dead

posted by on March 17 at 11:36 AM

From TMZ.com:

Swedish super-band ABBA's long-time drummer Ola Brunkert was found dead in his Mallorca, Spain home over the weekend.

Spanish police say the gruesome death was caused by a freak accident in which Brunkert bled to death after puncturing his throat with a broken piece of glass. According to CNN, police believe the drummer may have fallen against a glass partition that separated his kitchen from his garden, causing the glass to break and fatally cut his throat.

Brunkert was not one of the four "famous" members of ABBA, but was a studio drummer who played on all their albums.


Thursday, February 28, 2008

Buddy Miles, Dead at 60

posted by on February 28 at 10:55 AM

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Via the LA Times:

Buddy Miles, the rock and R&B drummer, singer and songwriter whose eclectic career included stints playing with Jimi Hendrix and as the lead voice of the California Raisins, the animated clay figures that became an advertising phenomenon in the late 1980s, has died. He was 60.

Miles died Tuesday of congestive heart failure at his home in Austin, Texas, according to an announcement on his website.

A massive man with a distinctive, sculpted afro, Miles hit his peak of popularity when he joined Hendrix and bassist Billy Cox to form Hendrix's Band of Gypsys, which the New Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock & Roll called "the first black rock group." Miles had played with Hendrix on the guitarist's influential "Electric Ladyland" album released in 1968.


Thursday, February 21, 2008

The Dead Little Rooster

posted by on February 21 at 1:32 PM

Narcocorrido music makes gansta rap look like a walk in the park:

Popular Mexican singer Jesus Rey David Alfaro was found murdered along with his manager and assistant. Alfaro, known as The Little Rooster, and six others were tortured, murdered and pinned with messages for the Mexican army.

The musicians, who sing “narcocorrido” songs glorifying drug traffickers, were the latest murdered in the drug war between Tijuana’s main drug trafficking group Arellano Felix and traffickers lead by Joaquin “Shorty” Guzman. At least 6 other “narcocorrido” singers have been murdered in the war.


“We believe Alfaro had links to the Arellano Felix cartel,” said an official.

A note reading “You’ll be next” was pinned to Alfaro’s body. He was found in a wasteland on the edge of Tijuana. Rope marks could be seen on his neck. Officials say they believe he Alfaro was tortured before he was shot in the head.

Here's The Little Rooster in a happy moment of his short life"
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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Five Years Ago Today

posted by on February 20 at 4:01 PM

100 people died at a Great White show.

(Thanks for the link, Hickey.)


Monday, February 18, 2008

Fremont Sonic Boom Sale

posted by on February 18 at 9:39 AM

Update: That Last Day Sale at Sonic Boom Fremont is 50% off everything used & 30% off everything new (except things that are already on sale).

Nabil Ayers says:

Thanks for 10+ great years and see you in Ballard & Capitol Hill.

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photo: Bill Anthony

In a comment from this weekend ‘Pooper’ said:

OMG, a record store is going out of business!!! Oh wait - that happens all the time, because we have the internet now. Anybody running a record store now who doesn't expect to be forced into shutting down in the next 5 years should be given a Gold Star for Baseless Optimism.

Fremont's got more character than the rest of the city has in its big toe. I really doubt the passing of one record shop heralds the coming of the condo antichrist. (Not that he isn't coming, of course...)

Pooper, you see, sometimes people fall in love with record stores. For those who had fallen in love with the Fremont Sonic Boom as a place to physically be while browsing and buying music, please, let us mourn.


Saturday, February 16, 2008

Sonic Boom Fremont

posted by on February 16 at 6:27 AM

Photographer Bill Anthony took these pictures and had this to say about the closing of the Fremont Sonic Boom:

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Seattle keeps breakin' my heart man. So help me, if they ever close the Buckaroo Tavern, I hope this town slides into the Puget Sound leaving nothing behind but dirty bubbles rising to the surface.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Two More (Conditional) Deaths

posted by on February 11 at 3:10 PM

Resonance Magazine is dead (at least as a print publication).
From editor Andrew Monko:

For now, Resonance as a media vehicle is on hiatus, and continuing a printed version at a future date appears unlikely. A more viable return route may be to phoenix online with a site devoted to the same vision (and with a massively diminished carbon footprint). We shall see.
via FLOG (thanks Matt!)

Krakt is dead come April (at least as a monthly).
From promoter Kristina Childs:

April will be the last Krakt as a club night. It's been a great run, and i thank everyone who's supported over the years, and hope those faces i haven't seen in a while will come back for the final two parties.

so here's the plan:
March - Kris Moon's Farewell Seattle Party: Derek Plaslaiko (Spectral / NYC), Kris Moon (live pa), Kristina Childs
April - Last Krakt - line-up TBD

Krakt is not dying, i'm just burned out and need a break. there will be krakt parties in the future, but it'll be anywhere from 1-4 parties per year. we'll see.

10 Crushed to Death at Indonesian Metal Concert

posted by on February 11 at 1:13 PM

Via allheadlinenews.com:

Jakarta, Indonesia (AHN) - Ten people were crushed to death and at least six others were wounded when hundreds of fans of a famous Indonesian rock band caused a stampede at a jam packed concert Saturday in Bandung, capital of West Java in Indonesia, police said Sunday.

According to witnesses, hundreds of teenage fans of the heavy metal band group "Besides" attended the concert at a building in Bandung with a capacity for only 700 people. Hundreds of fans were trying to get out of the crowded building while hundreds more were surging to get in causing people to be trampled or crushed to death.


Tuesday, January 29, 2008

In Case You Missed This Sad News...

posted by on January 29 at 5:19 PM

"Ben McMillan, singer for Gruntruck and Skin Yard, dead at 46"

The P-I blog Ear Candy has more on the story.

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Sunday, January 27, 2008

Funeral For a Friend

posted by on January 27 at 3:07 AM

Tonight was the "funeral" for a house of many parties, the Holy Land. It was truly an honorable farewell. These kids know how to keep a dance floor moving; how to cram a grip of people into a cozy central district home. Consolations, congratulations, and farewell, for now.

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Thursday, January 10, 2008

The Monks' Dave Day Dead

posted by on January 10 at 6:15 PM

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Just got the news from Light in the Attic's Matt Sullivan: Dave Havlicek, aka Dave Day, guitarist and banjo player for legendary proto-punk band the Monks, died today. According to Sullivan, Day, who was born and lived in Renton, suffered a stroke or a heart attack on Sunday morning. He spent this week in the hospital before finally succumbing this morning.

According to the Monks' wiki:

All the members of the Monks were American GIs stationed in Germany in the mid-'60s. They began playing together in 1964, calling themselves the 5 Torquays. The Torquays differed little from other bands of the time: They covered Chuck Berry songs and played music inspired by the British beat groups. But the band experimented together musically.

and

Dave Day replaced his guitar with a six-string, gut-strung banjo upon which he played guitar chords. This instrument sounds much more metallic, scratchy, and wiry than a standard electric guitar.

and

The Monks are one of the many bands mentioned in the song "Losing My Edge" by LCD Soundsystem.

There's a huge backstory to these guys, which I'll leave to our resident garage rock savant Mike Nipper to tell in a proper obituary tomorrow. Suffice to say the music is really something else, something unique--primal, tribal, freakish, stylized, and made all the more so by the fact it was originally made in 1966.

This is one of those times when you feel like an asshole for catching on to what's clearly a very, very cool thing after somebody dies. I talked with Dave Day a couple times at Light in the Attic events--he was a badass and a sweetheart, he and his wife Irene hanging tough with the kids, drinking beers, smoking cigs, and shooting the shit. He told me he invented punk rock and opened for Jimi Hendrix. Watching these YouTube vids--and there are several, mostly taken from German TV in 1966--I believe the claim.

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RIP.

RIP Michael Griffen

posted by on January 10 at 12:25 AM

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From Behead The Prophet No Lord Shall Live's myspace page:

"Early this morning Michael Griffen died. He was the violinist in Behead the Prophet No Lord Shall Live and played in the noise duo Noggin and many other projects along the way. His contribution to music was very significant as a huge proponent of Improvised Noise. Michael encouraged anyone curious about music regardless of talent and got a lot of people started on a path to true creative expression. I am greatly thankful for my experience with Michael as an individual, as a fellow musician and to know his family who have been a family to me when I needed a one that accepted me for who I am without judgment. I am currently working on a documentary about Michael with a friend Peter Rand that hopefully will be completed within the next year. Much Love to you all, I know that Michael believed in Love, - Jordan Rain"

I saw Behead the Prophet in a basement back in high school and it was truly wild. Condolences to Griffen's friends and family.